Seattle Got Its Feewings Hurt — Updated

Did you see what Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman said about Seattle?

Seattle did.

Bozeman, and I’ve got at least two dozen witnesses, told other mayors that Seattle’s waterfront was “an insult to American ingenuity.” For Aurora Avenue he suggested trees to “block off the visual garbage.”

The Seattle P-I’s Monica Guzman mused, “The mayor of Bremerton, gateway to Gorst, dissing Seattle? Really? The mayor of Bremerton?”

Then she threw out an insult about fine dining in a paper bag. I nearly choked on my steak and egg burrito when I read that. (OK, it did come in a paper bag, but I never tried to say Jack in the Box was fine dining. It’s just fine.)

So, let’s aim our insults away from Port Orchard for now. We’ve got a bigger piece of meat to skewer.

And by the way, Bozeman is absolutely unapologetic about his comments, as the Seattle media is finding out.

“The truth sometimes hurts,” he said. “If it takes a voice like mine to get people thinking, I don’t mind stirring the pot.”

Seattle, he said, has done a bad job over the past 50 years developing its waterfront.

UPDATE: Bozeman did want me to mention that during the conversation yesterday, Greenlake and Pike Place Market were held up as examples of great public spaces. So Seattle gets points for those. The waterfront? Pioneer Square? Not so much.

Seattle, it is on.

And we’ve got some retorts to that weak cheese you threw our way.

Bremerton: The Susan Boyle of cities.
Seattle: The Courtney Love of cities.

Our clothes were recession-chic before there was a recession.

Our baristas wear pasties.

Did Sir-Mix-A-Lot write songs about YOUR women?

Seattle: Decision free for 27 years.

We rebelled against overpriced condos by not buying them.

It didn’t take us six years to decide to build a tunnel.

Our congressman works for us (see tunnel reference).

Where do you think you got Bill Gates from?

Pipe down, Seattle. We’ve got nukes.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Seattle responded to our response.

OK OK. You got us on the pasties. And yeah, the viaduct was a process. It’s the whole Seattle gridlock thing. We’re working on it.

Good job with that list, though. Really. It left us so impressed, we tried to think of some your own past transgressions to fling back at you.

But the truth is, we don’t think about Bremerton very much.

Come to think of it, where is Bremerton?

They then went and posted the MxPx video “Move to Bremerton,” that includes the classic line, “Quit your job you’ve got a place to stay.” Nothing says Bremerton like quitting your job.

Anyway, we’ve written a somewhat conciliatory response that goes something like this.

We get it. Bremerton is to Seattle what a shoelace aglet (that little tapelike thing at the end of a shoelace) is to a shoe. We serve a role but we’re probably not necessary for Seattle’s survival. That “We don’t think about Bremerton much” line is the same one I use on my Canadian in-laws when they whine about the U.S. So I can relate.

We, on the other hand, are well aware of Seattle. I’m aware of it every time I have to leave a Mariners game early to catch the 10:30 p.m. ferry. We take our guests to your Pike Place Market and your Space Needle. Lucky guests also get to see the troll.

Can’t say I’ve ever been to the sculpture park, though.

All this is to say we know our place, and we’re fine with it.

Wethinks, however, thou dost profess too much ignorance of Bremerton. How else would you even know about the existence of Gorst? Nobody knows about Gorst, save those who drive through it or stop by for some quick partial nudity.

Also, we’re kind of proud of MxPx. And Quincy Jones. And Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard. Next time you see his fiance, Zooey Deschannel, hanging out on your side of the Sound, you can thank us. And let’s not forget that your namesake, Chief Sealth, is resting over here on our side, in a town that has a nice view of, um, Seattle.

I will point out, however, that Bremerton has a couch and a pair of pants named after it. I know that doesn’t compare to a horse and an entire genre of music, but we take our victories where we can get them.

Meanwhile, no matter how insulting to ingenuity your waterfront is, we will keep bringing tourists to your shops, workers to your offices and spectators to your venues. And we’ll keep waiting for our own first Zooey sighting.

39 thoughts on “Seattle Got Its Feewings Hurt — Updated

  1. A battle of who can make their city waterfront nicer is a battle I can get behind. It’s a win/win for fans of both!

  2. I’m thoroughly tired of boastful Bozeman, our mayor!

    Development in Bremerton mostly means outta-price-range
    condos and lots of empty storefronts, almost no place to
    eat, drink or be merry. It’s spooky in downtown Bremerton,
    whereas when I was a girl it was actually a fun, interesting
    place with things for *average* income people to see & do.

    This tells my age (52) but some of us do remember!!!

    I sure wish Third Place Books had bought the old Penny’s building,
    so we could start building some real community! Heavy sigh,
    Mr. Bozeman should start thinking about us “little people” and
    what WE might like! hmmmph And hush about Seattle, they’ve
    got enough problems of their own, but we’ve no room to talk.

  3. I do believe Roxie and I and her sister used to cruise downtown Bremerton back in the early 70’s 🙂 Making the route in a stick shift was no fun, but Steppenwolf was loud and we didn’t get into trouble. Times have certainly changed!!

  4. What, exactly, is Bozeman’s idea of ingenuity? Turning a long-emptied department store smack in the middle of downtown into a parking garage? Overpriced and undersold condos?

    For all the “garbage” on Seattle’s waterfront, one has to admit at lease they have something.

    Where is Bremerton’s sculpture park?
    Where is Bremerton’s aquarium?
    Where is the free bus connecting Bremerton’s waterfront attractions?
    Where, for that matter, ARE Bremerton’s waterfront attractions? The boardwalk, ok- what else?

    I would hazard a guess that it’s nothing more than a ploy along the lines of “Hey, pay attention to us”. Whatever it was, he comes off as high as the people I see walking around the 7-11 downtown.

    I would have thought it impossible, but there really is less to do in Bremerton today than when I was a kid saying “there’s nothing to do in Bremerton”.

    Mayor Bozeman, talking trash isn’t going to fix our own problems. Why don’t you point that boastful testicular fortitude at the people who turned downtown into what it is today? Oh wait…


  5. Way to go Mr. Bozoman, are we paying you to get in a pissing match with other cities? The only ones that enjoy those fountains in Bremerton, are the homeless guys that use them for showers in the morning and urinals at night. Besides isn’t the City of Bremerton broke? Whats that clown doing spending tax payers money on a conference which evidently was only intended to boost his own dilutions of grandeur. Pull your head out Mr. Bozoman, and next time you visit Seattle bring a tape measure with you, your waterfront measures about 500 yards of public usable waterfront, Seattle has about 2 1/4 miles.

  6. Wow, a couple very serious responses to a not very serious post. 🙂

    Bremerton > Seattle hands down.

    -B. Lewis- Kitsap Sun Web Programmer

    (Disclaimer: Post is in no way official or serious.)

  7. Wow, Bremerton Beat and Mayor Bozeman, going after the big guns. I’m impressed. And entertained.

    Do they know Bremerton has a professional soccer team?

  8. As an livelong Seattle resident “temporarily” (hopefully) living in Bremerton for the past year I’d have to say that Mayor Bozeman does not have a lot of room to talk. I find it utterly pathetic that there is no “free parking” on Sundays or on Holidays to at least attract people to the downtown area. Also, call me a snob, but isn’t about time that the paid parking lots you do have in downtown take debit cards/credit cards and not only cash? The last time I checked it was 2009. Why would I want to come to downtown Bremerton on a Sunday though? Not much to look at, not a lot of places to shop at or actually eat at. I’d even go one up and say downtown Renton as a lot more going on and a lot more to offer than the Downtown area of Bremerton. Mayor Bozeman I’d spend an afternoon spending my money on the Seattle Waterfront where I’d get my monies worth any day over spending it in downtown Bremerton PERIOD.

  9. To read most of the replies to Kitsap Sun stories and blogs you would think the average Sun reader has about a 3rd grade education. “Boozeman” (in many comments elsewhere)? “Bozoman”? Really? Is that the best you can do? Name calling?

    Seattle’s waterfront is a mess and doesn’t appear to be getting any better anytime soon. Bremerton’s waterfront is improving despite all the naysayers here and elsewhere. My question for all of you 3rd graders here is, what have you done for your city lately?

  10. Todd get out from under the Mayors desk, when was the last time they had to Auction off Condo’s along Seattle’s Waterfront? You can paint a turd gold but if you take bite of it, it still tastes like ….

  11. Bremerton is a work in progress. Mayor Bozeman didn’t turn the Penney’s building into a parking lot, the Bremer Trust did. It is now owned by the owner of Third Place Books and there are plans to redevelop it, when market conditions improve. That is why the old cash boxes are used instead of credit card readers. The condos came online at the worst possible time. Patience, people.

  12. Wow Steve, I expect Mayor Bozeman to call for your beheading by Monday. His general egomaniacal statements are not playing well outside of the usual Bozeman Boosters crowd.

  13. Wow, a funny article in the Kitsap Sun? Why aren’t any of the community columnists writing great stuff like this, instead of writing about national politics and such? This is what we want to hear about, some hometown hijinks. Keep it up!

  14. Cue the Beavis and Butthead giggle…Meatpuppet said I was under the mayor’s desk. I notice he didn’t answer the question I asked though. I’ll answer his. I’ve spent a lot of time on the Seattle waterfront but mostly within a 1/2 mile either way of the ferry dock. To the best of my knowledge, there are no condos on the Seattle waterfront (at least not within a reasonable walking distance of the ferry). As far as I know, the nearest condos are on the other side of the viaduct. What that has to do with anything is up to Meatpuppet to explain though. Now how about answering my question Meatpuppet? What have you done to help make Bremerton a better place?

  15. Hey Todd according to your posts you have lived in Bremerton less than three years. I can take you for a walk in Seattle and show you plenty of condos within 5 minutes of ferry on Seattle side. Explain to me why residents of Seattle would crave to live by Coleman Dock? You don’t really seem to know either side of the Sound very well. So Todd what have you done for your newly acquired city lately?

  16. Sure the condo’s were mistimed because the builders delivered late allowing the people purchasing them to walk away from their contracts. Did Bozo do anything about it? Nope, he sat up on his hill and claimed all is fine… Now that the KCCHA is facing possible bankruptcy and the fate of the condo’s are in limbo, he wants to build, build and build some more!

    Parks… while pretty are not business development and cost the taxpayers more money.

    Oh, he built the Bremerton Marina, silly me and here I thought we got the Marina from the Port and Mahan’s underhanded dealings with the native americans.

    Sure Third Place Books owns the old JC Penny building and the Mayor was so proud it would be redeveloped by 2010… oh wait, when the market improves now. Just exactly when will that be? Oh yeah, when we vote Bozo out along with his $9Million deficit he’s caused the city.

    But let’s play this game.
    Downtown Bremerton on a Sunday = Ghost Town.
    Downtown Seattle on a Sunday = Active, people spending money, and businesses open.

  17. Actually, if you read the posts on the Seattle Times website, more are in agreement with the Mayor’s assessment of the Seattle waterfront than not. Many of them said something like, “Who is he to criticize the Seattle waterfront, but he’s right”.

  18. Todd, I didn’t answer your question because I thought you only wanted to correspond with 3rd graders. Evidently you miss-understood my question, I didn’t ask you how much time you have spent along Seattle’s waterfront, nor did I ask if you knew the location of any Condo’s within you’re definition of a “reasonable” walking distance from the ferry terminal. I already know the answer to that, 100’s. I asked you when was the last time they had to Auction off Condo’s along Seattle’s Waterfront? A large number of the waterfront Condo’s in Seattle have waiting lists of people eager to live in them. Bremerton had to auction theirs off and even then there were very few takers.

    You might also take note that some of the Condo’s along Bremerton’s Waterfront are owned by the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority(KCCHA).

    Housing authorities are chartered by the State to and I quote:

    “The Authority’s activities primarily involve administration of various federal housing programs, low rent Public Housing and the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program. The Authority also administers a federally funded Self-Help Housing Program of the Rural Housing and Community Development Services (RHCDS), and operates several programs designed to expand affordable housing opportunities.”

    You notice it doesn’t say anything about owning high dollar Waterfront Condo’s. If you take the time to checkout King Counties Housing Authority’s website, take peek at their properties map, you might notice that NONE of their properties are long the Seattle Waterfront. As far as I am concerned the City of Bremerton stole the money intended for low income families and used it to develop their own pet projects. KCCHA ended up with the property after the developer bailed on it, now they are broke and laying off people and cutting services to those the money was intended for.

  19. Karen @ 18 is absolutely right – many Seattle residents, including myself, agree with Mayor Bozeman. Much of what he is slamming, such as the Viaduct and Aurora, were constructed decades ago. As much as I hated the City’s inept response to the snow and would like a serious opponent to enter the Mayor’s race, I do think Mayor Nickels has done a good job promoting downtown housing and being persistent trying to get rid of the Viaduct. He’s also worked with other electeds to get light rail going, only twenty-three years behind Portland.

    Mayor Bozeman has done a great job renovating downtown Bremerton. He admits the city has a ways to go, but he recognized how to take advantage of the city’s assets and moved boldly to do so. The media usually doesn’t focus on quality of life and how important urban design is to a city, so I’m happy to see some discussion on this.

    Speaking of the media, I think the other illuminating thing about this story is how childish the P-I and Kitsap Sun (“Seattle Got Its Feewings Hurt”) are. It’s a great example of why newspapers are failing. Why read superficial stories focusing on name-calling, especially since there are so many more alternatives that treat readers like adults and deal with important issues?

  20. Bremerton didn’t ‘steal’ anything…but I wonder what the Kitsap low cost housing authority is doing with expensive condo’s on the water?
    What is ‘low cost’ about them?’
    Doesn’t citizen input have a place when government agencies s[end tax dollars?
    ..curious… Sharon O’Hara

  21. Sally is pretty perceptive!! Made me *smile* get your motor runnin’,
    head out on the highway, or at least downtown for a cruise!!!

  22. Sharon,
    I seem to recall praise from you for Cary Bozeman having the “vision” to get KCCHA to build these taxpayer backed million dollar condos.

  23. Jane, I do praise the Mayor for his vision and insight and forward motion in reinventing my old home town, Bremerton. I think he, Gary Sexton and the city council are doing and have done an excellent job and much more to come, I hope.

    I have never liked the condo’s hogging up the waterfront – then or now..but I like the cleaning up and wonderful new ‘look’ of Bremerton and part of that ‘look’ does include the condos.

    Someday they will be filled and the owners will add to the vitality of the new Bremerton.

    I clearly didn’t understand the mission of the KCCHA….and would have praised the mayors ingenuity.

    How could it happen…getting dollars for low cost housing and putting them into what is prime housing, the condo’s?
    Sharon O’Hara

  24. So when Mayor Bozeman needs Seattle’s support to get those passenger ferries back–or even a car ferry without visible rust–do you suppose Mayor Nickels will welcome him with open arms after needlessly insulting his city?

  25. Hey Steven,

    I know you have always been really great, and funny, at poking fun of other towns across the water. Now I can see that it does not matter what section of the water that is. Port Orchard is going to get jealous. But no worries, I am sure they will be hosting another big Bay Street bar fight or a My Space war amongst public officials very soon.

  26. Yes, I do think so, Jerry. Mayor Nickels is also a visionary and may well be grateful for Bremerton’s mayor speaking up.

    Both have the best interests for the future of our area and (my belief) foot ferries will be part of the transportation ease between our towns and cities.
    In my opinion…Sharon O’Hara

  27. Bozeman is right. The Seattle waterfront with the Alaska Way Viaduct running across it is about as appealing as a fat person with their belt cinched in 10 inches too tight. I thought the waterfront was ugly when I was 5 years old in the late ’60s, and I still think so today.

    That doesn’t imply that Bremerton doesn’t have its own problems, and Mayor Bozeman is hardly responsible for ALL of them. Maybe there would be more to do in downtown Bremerton, if more people from Kitsap would go out and do them (or call the companies) when they are open, expressing the need for more to do on the weekends or whenever fits their schedule.

    Well, there is my two bits.

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